When most people think of pheasants they think of common ringneck pheasants, or golden pheasants. Very few people are aware of all the forty or more other pheasants often kept and raised by pheasant enthusiasts around the world.
In captivity pheasants are usually fed game bird ration, and may even have some chicken scratch. They will also eat seeds, berries, fruits, and insects. Pheasants need large enclosures, in many cases at least 20 sq feet per bird. They often enjoy shady areas. Some are less hardy of below freezing temperatures than others.
Today I will introduce you to three beautiful pheasants, the Swinhoe's, the Reeve's Pheasant, and the stunningly beautiful Peacock Pheasant.
The pictured birds are males, female pheasants are typically drab, and brown, with some subtle markings. This makes sexing pheasants rather easy, a task that is hard in some other game birds.
©Authors pet, male Swinhoe's Pheasant
Swinhoe's Pheasants are native to Taiwan and were named after Robert Swinhoe who classified and described then in 1862. Swinhoe's Pheasants are a taller species, with bright red wattles on their face. They have a color that is best observed in the light as it is dark but very reflective of blues and purples.
Swinhoe's hens lay 2 to 6 eggs and these take 26-28 days to hatch. In the wild their numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss. Thankfully some are protected in parks and preserved through the exotic pet trade.
Swinhoes are considered to be Gallopheasants
Reeve's Pheasants are native to China, their tail can grow to over 8 feet long (2.4 meters). This is important to note because in birds with long tails a huge risk is freezing the blood in the tail feathers which can kill the bird. Their tail feathers fall out and regrow yearly, and should never be plucked out.
Reeve's Pheasants are quite bold as pets and will chase people, as pets they require rather large aviaries, and like shaded, cool, areas.
Reeve's hens lay 7 to 14 eggs which take roughly 25 days to hatch. They are considered vulnerable in the wild mostly due to hunting for their tail feathers and meat.
Reeve's Pheasants are considered Long Tailed Pheasants. Of the three pheasants shown here, they are the most common in the pet trade.
Bornean Peacock Pheasant
The Bornean Peacock Pheasant is one of several Peacock Pheasants, and trust me, pictures do not do this bird justice, they are spectacularly jeweled when viewed in real life, as are all Peacock Pheasants. Their feathers are tipped with the iridescent eyes we associate with peacocks. They are native to Borneo.
These are shy birds that are listed as endangered. Peacock pheasants are difficult to keep as pets and should only be attempted by those who have had success with other pheasants. They must have heat in the winter.
Hens usually lay only two eggs at a time, hatching in 24 to 26 days. Of the pheasants shown here, these are the least common in the pet trade.